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May 01 2013

Now that’s what I call sharp hearing

I was on the lower floor and Cooper was on the main floor, and I spotted a stray kibble on the floor. I never leave a stray kibble on the floor because I don’t like DOG SALIVA liberally spread all over said floor, so I picked it up and – decided not to put it in the kibble bin, because the slight noise of taking off the snap-on plastic lid would be sure to summon Cooper to stand around drooling heavily, thus causing more DOG SALIVA liberally spread all over the floor. Instead I put it in the metal scoop next to the bin – thinking as I did so “will he hear this? no of course not, much too faint, plus just a random sound.”

Plink. The instant the kibble hit the scoop with a very faint plink, Cooper shot into motion overhead and rocketed down the stairs. One kibble. Hitting a metal scoop with a tiny plink, on another floor of the house, and around the corner from the stairs. One tiny little plink, and half a second later there’s a dog drooling in front of me.

Skillz.

26 comments

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  1. 1
    Stacy

    Mungo the Cat loves yogurt, and there is no way to open one of those little vacuum-sealed foil carton tops quietly enough that it doesn’t bring him running. No.Way.

  2. 2
    jenBPhillips

    Our bedroom furniture contains, in total, ten drawers. They all sound exactly the same to me (no unique squeaks or anything) when opened, but while I can open nine of the drawers without rousing any canine attention, the tenth drawer, which happens to contain my running clothes, brings my Golden on the run every time.

  3. 3
    Jon Anderson

    My cats can somehow tell the sound of a can of tuna being taken out of the pantry, but don’t come running for any other sort of can.

  4. 4
    Andrew B.

    That’s a cute story.

  5. 5
    coragyps

    We had a fairly elderly, overweight cat who could distinguish the sound of a tuna can being opened from the sound of, say, green beans from anywhere even near the house. And she would hit about five meters/sec getting to the kitchen.

  6. 6
    Aratina Cage

    It’s uncanny how they can hear such things. One of my dogs is programmed to hear a banana being peeled from the other side of the house.

  7. 7
    Josh, Official SpokesGay

    My cats are so attuned to the RARE sound of dry kibble kitty treats being opened that any bag of dried food-bits makes them nuts. They make a clamor like a feline brothel if I so much as bring a bag of *kale* chips into the house. I mean it. Full on OMG I’M IN HEAT SATISFY ME OH LORD clamoring.

  8. 8
    niftyatheist, perpetually threadrupt

    This was balm to my spirits tonight!! :D Thanks, Ophelia!

    Josh – you cracked me up!!! :D

  9. 9
    catwhisperer

    coragyps – damn, you beat me to it! My mum’s cat can do that too.

    My cat responds to the sound of the food processor being taken out of the cupboard. He seems to follow some kind of advanced chain of reasoning there: Food processor = cooking = some kind of meat = gimme!

    He also used to be obsessed with running water, and if I went in the bathroom and pulled the blind down, he’d come running from wherever and jump in the bath because he knew I’d be having a shower.

  10. 10
    Giliell, professional cynic -Ilk-

    Good dog!
    My firends’ dog slept through most of the time their house was burgled. OTOH, they didn’t try to steal the doggie biscuits.
    Our long gone cockatiel would hear my mum’s car when it was still 200m away. Always gave me a bit of a warning

  11. 11
    sailor1031

    This is obviously more proof of Sheldrake’s theory of morphic resonance. Cooper knew what you were going to before you put the kibble in the bin, i.e. when you formed the intention to do so…….

  12. 12
    embertine

    My cats have been known to fly over the back fence from the park just because I moved the cardboard box on top of the ‘fridge that holds their pouches of food.

    SUPERSENSES!

  13. 13
    Marcus Ranum

    My dogs could hear the sound of my synapses firing when I thought of food, and would appear, wolf-like at the edge of the circle of light cast by the fire.

  14. 14
    Kevin

    There’s a community walking path along the side and behind my house, with a back yard privacy fence. My dog can detect the difference between “no dog” (no bark), “friend dog” (happy bark), and “foe dog” (angry bark). Well before anyone actually shows up.

    He also knows when a rabbit has snuck into the back yard at night. Goes nuts, demanding to be let out. And then there’s the chase.

  15. 15
    Ophelia Benson

    Hahaha these are great. The tenth drawer one is really impressive – also the ones who can distinguish tuna cans from other cans.

  16. 16
    kestra

    My dad’s cat comes running to the sound of cans being opened. She hilariously can’t tell the difference between Tuna and anything else, even after it is opened, until dad lets her sniff the lid. Then she casually sashays away, all, “I didn’t want nothin’ anyhow.”

  17. 17
    latsot

    Fortran can hear the contents of her treat box settling from two fields away but seems to have difficulty hearing the word “no” when she is methodically shredding the sofa/rare books/my flesh/etc.

  18. 18
    latsot

    I’ve just realised that Fortran is basically that kid from the Twilight Zone episode who can magic anything he wants and we are the terrified family. But that describes most cats.

  19. 19
    Susannah

    I had an older cat, supposedly going deaf, that met me out in the parking space every time I came home. For this, he had to leave his spot on the sofa, climb out a window, run up a long driveway; slowly, because he was also arthritic. And I had an erratic schedule, so there was no watching the clock.

    He could also distinguish the sound of a tuna can from any other, two rooms away. But he was unable to hear things like, “Get off the book/table/keyboard!”

  20. 20
    freemage

    Legolas comes for any can. Or any can-like noise. Or really, any movement. Legolas isn’t too bright.

    Shishi, OTOH, waits until she hears Legolas making happy noises over actually getting anything good. Shishi’s smart.

  21. 21
    sailor1031

    @Latsot: I supose Fortran is a “legacy” cat? A younger cat these days might be called – oh “Ruby” or something?

  22. 22
    opposablethumbs

    Thinking of Fortran … Linux was found abandoned on the street as a puppy, because – the staff at the rescue centre told us – she was stone deaf and therefore hard to sell for a profit.So we got a book about training deaf dogs, and a collar that buzzed so she could feel it.

    After some months, as it turned out, the ear blockage cleared up. Now she can hear you cutting a slice of bread in the kitchen – and she can, of course, distinguish between ordinary cutlery-on-plates-while-eating noises (wait quietly, while drooling) and cutlery-on-plates-starting-to-clear-the-table noises (leap up, dance around, gaze longingly at her bowl, emit squeaks utterly unsuited to the dignity of a large GSD. Honestly, what does she think she is – a lab?)

  23. 23
    latsot

    @sailor1031 The next cat I get will be called LISP.

  24. 24
    WMDKitty -- Survivor

    Gracie doesn’t respond to her name from five feet away, but she can tell when Mom is opening the wet food from a block and a half…

  25. 25
    Marie-Thérèse O'Loughlin

    I could just visualise Seattle-Cooper falling all over himself as he darted down the stairs to rescue the kibble. A far cry from the non-alert behaviour of the departed Scout.

  26. 26
    Martha

    I miss that so much! My 15-year old, objectively problematic but oh-so-sweet (to me) shepherd mix is now almost totally deaf. On the plus side, he no longer snarls at the letter carrier. Unfortunately, that means he can’t hear it when I scoop food into his bowl. I have to carry it in to him and waft it under his nose before returning the bowl to its usual place.

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